Test technology specialist Ixia is in demand as an acquisition target, with Keysight seemingly in pole position to make a takeover bid, according to a report from Reuters.
Speculation that Ixia had erected a "For Sale" sign emerged at the end of 2016, with fellow test & measurement vendor Keysight identified as being among the prospective suitors, along with Viavi and EXFO.
That news lit a fire under Ixia's share price, which has gained almost 31% in value since the start of December 2016: The stock closed Wednesday at $17.75, giving the test vendor a market valuation of almost $1.5 billion.
Now Keysight is engaged in talks about a potential acquisition of Ixia, according to industry sources who spoke with the Reuters reporting team.
But there's still interest from others, it seems. According to a Bloomberg report, private equity firms, including Thoma Bravo, Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners, are also sniffing around Ixia, with Silver Lake believed to be working in partnership with Viavi.
Ixia, whose CEO Bethany Mayer has been in the hot seat since September 2014, is on course to report 2016 full-year revenues of about $480-490 million, which would be down year-on-year by about 6%. The company, which remains profitable, has diversified during Mayer's tenure to address the applications and security testing sectors, as well as address the impact of virtualization on the test sector, and has restructured its sales strategy to reflect its broader scope. (It now has sales teams for the network operator, enterprise and network equipment vendor sectors.) (See Ixia's New CEO to Telcos: Read Up On Cloud and Pierre Lynch of Ixia Shares Insights on Virtualization.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading
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